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Keeping our borders safe and secure

Keeping our borders safe and secure is a key priority for me. In the past pretty much anyone could just wander into the UK. They could then sign on, get housing priority and free healthcare too. This made people angry. They would tell me on the doorstep they had worked hard and paid their taxes. They felt it was unfair that priority was given to people who had not contributed.

So it's right that firm action has been taken on this welfare tourism and to strengthen our borders. The introduction of sniffer dogs has made an enormous difference. The increase in border officers is welcome. As a result we are seeing far less people breaking into the country. We can see this because people have increasingly resorted to desperate measures. They try to cross on rickety rafts or dangerous dinghies. So I welcome the Government embracing my call to step up the patrols of border cutters.

We need to do more to tackle the root cause of the problem too. Action has been taken to reduce the attraction of the UK to people from overseas. There has been a crack down on welfare tourism with new rules introduced. Now we need to go further in taking action on the serious problem at Calais. It's not just bad for the migrants and bad for Calais. It affects us too and will affect us more if people stop using ferries because they find the situation at Calais intolerable.

So there should be a clear plan of action. First France should act to repatriate these people or process any asylum claims they may have. Second there needs to be an international effort to deal with people trafficking gangs. When I went to Calais everyone told me they had paid traffickers to get there. This is not just the UK and France - people travel through Southern Europe to get to Calais. The container at the heart of the recent tragedy came from Belgium. It's an EU effort that is required. It's wrong for Brussels to sit idly by. The EU could play a real role in tackling the international trafficking gangs.

Third more action should be taken to reduce the attraction of the UK. This Government has done a lot. Yet it's worth asking if more can be done. The less attractive the UK the smaller the problem will become. Finally humanitarian aid in war torn countries makes a big difference. Providing aid isn't just the right thing to do - it keeps people close to their families and communities. Aid means that people are less likely to travel and people can return home once conflict has ended.

Our border controls are working. They are keeping our nation safe and secure. Yet we need to deal with the root causes of the problem at Calais. That requires a more thoughtful approach and international action.

Conservative run Dover District Council is moving ahead with plans to demolish Burlington House and redevelop the site on Dover's Townwall Street. Do you support this?

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Dover & Deal Conservative Association, 54 The Strand, Walmer, Deal, Kent   CT14 7DP
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